Can You Guess These World Record Firsts?


By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki commons

About This Quiz

From the earliest days of written history, people have sought to have their names recorded as the first to scale great heights, explore new vistas and achieve the impossible. Take our quiz to see if you can identify these impressive feats of strength, bravery and boldness.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men in history to do what?

In one small step for man, Armstrong and Aldrin were the first men to walk on the moon, on July 20, 1969.


Who was the first actor to earn more than a million dollars for a movie role?

In the early days of Hollywood, actors were paid a weekly salary to work exclusively for a certain studio. Over time, studios switched to today's method, where actors are paid per performance, and the best and brightest can earn serious cash for a single role. In 1962, Marlon Brando became the first actor to receive more than a million dollars for a part, when he was paid $1.25 million to play Christian Fletcher in "Mutiny on the Bounty."


Annie Edson Taylor survived a trip over Niagara Falls in what, back in 1901?

Annie Edson Taylor was 63 years old in 1901 when she became the first person to survive a trip over the mighty Niagara Falls. More than 15 people have attempted to descend the falls since that time -- and at least five have died -- including a man who tried to go over the falls on a jet ski.


Roger Bannister set a major record in 1954 with an epic achievement in what sport?

They said it couldn't be done, but Bannister proved them wrong when he ran a sub-four minute mile in the UK in 1954, clocking in at 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds. The announcer for the race, Norris McWhirter, would later go on to help compile the first Guinness Book of World Records.


Gertrude Ederle got her name in the record books for swimming across which body of water?

Ederle swam across the English Channel in 1926 in just 14.5 hours -- that's about two hours faster than any of the five men who had accomplished the feat before she did.


Ray Tomlinson was the first person to ever do what high-tech action in 1971?

Tomlinson sent the very first email back in 1971, while working at MIT. He later claimed that the content was so forgettable that he no longer remembered what it said.


In what year did the first American woman graduate from medical school?

Elizabeth Blackwell worked as a teacher before she decided to go into medicine. She sued to get into Geneva Medical College, then graduated in 1849 -- making her the first female doctor in the United States.


Edmund Hillary was the first to conquer which behemoth?

Hillary and a Sherpa named Tenzing Norgay scaled the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953, making them the first to conquer the 29,035-foot mountain.


The first female Olympic gold medalist achieved her victory in which sport, back in 1900?

The first female gold medalist was Helene de Pourtales, from Switzerland, who picked up the prize while on a sailing team with her husband.


In what year did a woman first run for U.S. president?

Move over Hillary! The first female presidential candidate in the U.S. was Victoria Woodhull, way back in 1872. The first woman to run on a major party ticket was Geraldine Ferraro, who ran for VP in 1984.


Edward Whymper was the first to conquer which peak between Switzerland and Italy?

British climber Edward Whymper reached the summit of the Matterhorn in 1865 -- Americans were busy fighting the Civil War at the time. Despite Whymper's achievement, the Matterhorn was not considered truly conquered until 1931, when someone finally made it up the peak's treacherous North Face.


The first man in space was from what country?

Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union became the first man in space in April 1961. He died in a mysterious plane crash just a few years later.


John McDermott became the first winner of what race -- the first U.S. marathon -- in 1897?

McDermott won the very first Boston Marathon -- which was itself the first marathon in the U.S. -- in 1897. The event was only 24.5 miles at the time, and didn't extend to 26.2 miles until 1924. To put it in perspective, the first New York City marathon wasn't held until 1970.


In what sport did Nadia Comaneci become the first person to score a perfect 10 in at the Montreal Olympics?

Romanian gymnast Comaneci earned the first perfect 10 in gymnastics history in 1976 for her uneven bars routine. The score was so unprecedented that the scoreboard couldn't even display a 10 -- so they showed her score as a "1.0" instead.


Which of these exotic locales was Captain Roald Amundsen the first to reach?

Amundsen and his crew sailed from Norway to the Bay of Whales. His team reached the South Pole before another rival team, led by Robert Scott. Scott's team did not survive the journey.


Charles Lindbergh was the first to fly solo across which body of water?

The legendary pilot became a national hero after he flew solo over the Atlantic in 1927. He took off from Long Island in his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, before landing in Paris the next day.


Which artist was awarded the first gold record in music history, for his song "Chattanooga Choo Choo"?

RCA Victor awarded musician Glenn Miller with the first gold record in music history in 1942 after he sold more than a million copies of his upbeat ditty "Chattanooga Choo Choo."


What is Chuck Yeager's claim to fame?

Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager became the first person to break the sound barrier in 1947 while piloting his plane, which he called Glamorous Glennis.


What team did Don Larsen play for when he threw the first no-hitter in a World Series game, in 1956?

Yankees pitcher Don Larsen threw the first perfect game in World Series history in 1956. The Yankees went on to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers four games to three to take the title.


What kind of animal was Laika -- the first creature of its kind in outer space?

The Soviets sent Laika the dog, a stray they'd picked up off the streets a few weeks earlier, into space on November 3, 1957 aboard Sputnik 2. The dog survived just a few hours before her dead body orbited the Earth for five months, then burned up upon re-entry.


Which of these elements did Marie Curie discover, to become the first person to win a second Nobel Prize?

Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1903, for her studies of radiation. She also became the first person of either gender to win a second Nobel Prize when she picked up the award for her discovery of radium in 1911.


In what year did the first untethered flight take place?

Everyone knows the Wright brothers were the first to fly a plane in 1903, but they weren't the first men to fly. That honor belongs to the Montgolfier brothers of France, who flew an untethered hot air balloon way back in 1783.


Tony Hawk was the first to perform a 900 -- two and a half aerial twists -- in which sport?

Tony Hawk ranks among the most famous skateboarders of all time. He was the first to perform a 900, at the 1999 X Games, and proved he still had the skill when he shared a video of himself performing the 900 in 2016 -- at the ripe old age of 48.


Which "Hips Don't Lie" singer was the first person to get 100 million likes on Facebook?

Colombian singer Shakira got her 100 millionth "Like" on Facebook after posting a picture of herself before a 2014 FIFA World Cup game in Rio.


Which "Bad Romance" singer was the first person to reach ten million Twitter followers?

Lady Gaga was the first to reach 10 million Twitter followers in 2011 -- and also the first to have 30 million followers, in 2012.


Bridget Driscoll has the dubious honor of being the first person killed in the UK by what in 1896?

Driscoll walked in the path of a car at the Crystal Palace in London in 1896. Despite the fact that the car was traveling at just 4 mph, the woman died from her injuries.


The Milwaukee Protocol got its name when a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, girl became the first person to survive what condition?

A teen girl named Jeanna Giese is the first person in history to survive rabies without getting a shot. The medical procedure used to treat her in 2004 is now known as the Milwaukee Protocol. Since then, the procedure has not proven to be successful in subsequent cases.


Which was the first U.S. game show to award a million-dollar prize?

John Carpenter became the first person in U.S. history to win a million dollars on a game show when he aced "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" in 1999. He used his "phone a friend" to call his father, to let him know he was about to win.


Who was the first billionaire in U.S. history?

Despite many claims that John D. Rockefeller was the first American billionaire, many biographers now agree that he probably was never quite that rich. Instead, Henry Ford of Model T fame likely was the first to reach the billion-dollar benchmark, in 1925.


Which YouTube video was the first to have a billion views?

Korean pop star Psy took the music world by storm with his catchy song, "Gangnam Style." It became the first music video to collect a billion views on YouTube in 2012, then doubled that number by 2014.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!